I am SO SORRY for making you wait so long for this. I thought about just doing a headcanon answer, but then I realized, just doing a he said-she said ain’t gonna cut it. Yep, I said ain’t. Stuff just got real. I might even do another part of this in the future… mostly because I’m not 100% sure that I followed through all the way.
Three whole months. No, three god forsaken months since she’d woken up in Niflheim. Three months of roaming around the town. Three months of meeting important people, expected to remember their names. Three months of work and sweat, for what? Her fingers raked gingerly through her hair as she watched him from the balcony of her tower. The courtyard was vast, but she could always spot him easily, sometimes even hear his laugh bouncing off the walls and reaching her. He only walked around the courtyard with another woman on his arm, probably one of the harem girls he seemed to care so much about.
“Why doesn’t he care that much about me?” she whispers to the wind. “He had me woken up. I’m supposed to be his wife and yet, he hardly even notices me.” They’d spent hours together, too. Perhaps that was the worst part of it all, the idea that despite all that time, King Jean still hadn’t noticed her, not really. Certainly not the way he noticed the women in his harem. Her long hair fell in loose ringlets over her shoulder as she leaned against the railing of the balcony, watching the two far below. The two figures closed in a distance, forcing the princess to turn her head the other way. Why did it hurt so much? Why did the knowledge that he was giving that woman a goodbye peck feel like her heart was being ripped from her chest.
Her fingers went back to work, lacing strands of hair through another until the braid fell gently over her bare skin. “Oh Jean,” she sighed. The dress he’d had sent up to her for their dinner that night sat sprawled out on the bed. It was beautiful, perfect actually. The princess had to wonder if he picked it out himself or if Orlando had been the one shopping. Never-the-less, she tugged off her dress and scooped up the material of the other, gently pressing it against her skin as she tugged up the zipper. Her eyes scanned her body over several times as her hands smoothed the material draped from her shoulders.
“Princess!” A knock followed the quick word. She turned to the door, staring at it. Maybe if she didn’t answer, Skeletiano would tell the King she’d gone missing and maybe, just maybe, he would care.
No. She would rather not find out what would happen. “Come in,” she nearly mumbled.
The door clicked open and she could hear the man, or rather bones, tap their way into the room, but her friend didn’t speak for a moment. Concerned that perhaps he’d collided with the door frame, she glances over her shoulder to see him gazing at her, his jaw hanging slack just slightly.
“My goodness, Princess! You look… Well… The King better keep an eye on you or someone else might steal you away!”
His kind words could only pull her lips up into a curled smile that reached her eyes. “Are you trying to suggest that you’d like to take me away from here, Skeletiano?” The words trickled from her lips with a soft laugh.
There was no response as the man approached her and extended his arm. Her eyes looked her form over once more as they walked out of the room. They walked down the hall for some time in simple silence. She could feel the small train of the dress trailing behind them and chanced a quick look at it, floating against the soft, velvety blue carpet, like ripples on the surface of water.
“Do you think he’ll like it? Do you think he’ll find me beautiful?” Her eyes turned to the other. She was certain if he had lips and skin, it would have been pulled up in a smile as she questioned him.
“Of course he will! He’d be crazy not to! Now, get in there and win him over.” Th words from the man stunned her. How could he possibly know how she was feeling about the King? How could he have guessed that she’d fallen head over heels for him in such a short time? Was it written clearly on her face? All the same, she sucked in a deep breath and nodded as he opened the door for her. Her lips curled and rounded to mouth a quick thanks as she glided into the dining hall where Jean was already waiting with a glass of wine in his hand by a window.
The creak of the door had caught his attention. His ruby red eyes gazed at her and for a moment, she felt self-conscious, wanted to wrap her arms around herself in a hug to hide from his gaze, even though she was covered in all the places that mattered. She worried when he didn’t say anything that he hated it. All of her doubts and fears rushed over her at once and she contemplated just walking right back out.
“Awriiiiiiight!” The word caught her by surprise, but even more than that, the smile that had painted itself across his face was more startling. “I sure know how to pick em!”
Her jaw moved, fumbling for words to say, questions to ask. “Um… You mean the dress, your majesty?” What else could he have possibly meant?
“Well, that too,” he cooed, throwing her a wink. His gaze dropped and he poured her a glass of wine as she felt her cheeks burn hot. She wasn’t stupid. The answer to her question was so obvious, but she still couldn’t believe it. How could he fling such compliments her way and not mean anything by them? Didn’t he understand what that did to a person?
The wine glass was extended to her and her fingers curled around it carefully. Crimson liquid sloshed and swirled and rocked with the exchange. She pulled it to her lips for a sweet sip. It was delicious, but more than that, she was sure she could smell Jean’s scent lingering on the glass and it stirred her heart. Her eyes glanced up over the glass, looking at the man who was staring at her with a smile again. All of it was too much. The pounding sensation in her chest, the heat creeping up her neck to her cheeks, his intense gaze. Her grip on the glass tightened until it could no longer.
“How was my Princess’s day?” The words were so casual, they churned her stomach. This was just a game. She was just a doll in this giant dollhouse that he was in control of. They were simply playing a game of house now, and quite frankly, she’d grown tired of it.
“Do you think I’m beautiful?” The words came blurting from her mouth before she could stop them, yet, there was no regret once they were out either.
“I… Wha… O-of course, honeybunny! Of course I think you’re beautiful! I don’t think I’ve met a woman yet that hasn’t been beautiful.”
The words made her brows furrow in anger and hurt. Clearly he hadn’t caught onto anything, none of her attempts at genuine affection, or her honest interest in getting to know him. “None of it matters to you, does it?” Her thoughts dripped from her tongue. “You really don’t get it!” A sarcastic breath of a laugh brushed away from her pearl-pink lips. “I don’t know what else to do, King Jean. They always said actions speak louder than words, but it seems as if all my attempts at showing you how I feel have gone unnoticed.”
“What are you on abo-”
“I love you!” The glass in her hand was set rather roughly on the nearby table but her gaze was locked on his. “I love you and I’ve worked my ass off trying to get you to notice me, but clearly your head is too far up your ass to notice!” Startled by her own words, she swallowed down a lump in her throat, but she didn’t look away. Instead, her voice eased up and she sighed. “You had me brought here to be your queen, to be your wife. I want nothing more than to love you and be loved in return, but do you even notice me? Really notice me? Until you do, I… I don’t think I… I…” She shook her head, unable to finish the words. Her empty hands reached down and lifted the skirt of the dress before she gave a quick bow and exited the room, leaving Jean behind in a stunned daze.